Swire’s business pal refuses to say how much Russians pay him

Background here:

Be judged by the friends you seek …

“En+, the energy & aluminium company founded by controversial Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, has remained silent on how much it paid a peer to chair its board last year, drawing further scrutiny of his corporate ties.

Remuneration details of Greg Barker, who took a leave of absence from the House of Lords to become chairman of the Russian conglomerate, were expected to be revealed in the company’s annual report published on Monday but were not revealed in the document.

En+ declined to comment. .. “


Swire’s pal takes ‘leave of absence’ from Lords to pursue his Russian ties and so avoids register of interests

Swire and Lord Barker went into business together asper his entry in his register of interests:

“From 12 December 2016, partner in Eaglesham Investments (not yet trading) which was set up to focus on renewable energy projects. (Registered 22 May 2018)”


Note that for 17 months Swire did not put this (still dormant) company on his register of interests and Owl wonders what exactly this company is for.

Sunday Times:

“… Lord Barker is the independent chairman of En+ Group, a Russian aluminium and power company part-owned by the oligarch Oleg Deripaska, an ally of Putin.

In February, Barker took a leave of absence from the Lords, meaning he no longer has to register his interests. He is still allowed to use his title, however.

Barker was involved in discussions with the US government over sanctions imposed on the company in April 2018, a process that led to them being lifted in January after Deripaska reduced his shareholding and independent directors and trustees were appointed. …”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

“Why I’ve joined a new group of MPs trying to fix Britain’s futile adversarial politics”

Could you see Swire or Parish doing this for the sake of our district and our country? No. Could you see Claire Wright doing this? Yes.

“… A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in joining the More United Network. One call with its leadership team and I was sold. The idea is simple really, a new platform for MPs who are willing, where possible, to work cross-party in the national interest, regardless of which party is in power.

I know it’s a cliche, but becoming a dad completely changed how I viewed the world. My outlook was different, less selfish and short termist. I began thinking more about the sort of country I wanted my kids to grow up in. And I could either be the guy who sits round the dinner table or down the pub putting the world to rights, or I could get out there and fight for the things I believe in. So that’s what I did, and two years later I was elected to parliament.

Most MPs enter politics for reasons like this, having been inspired by something or someone in their lives to make a positive difference. And going to work surrounded by a group of people with an immense breadth and depth of knowledge and experience means there’s always something to learn, and areas where common cause can be found.

What many people don’t know is that some of the best work in parliament happens in the All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), where MPs with a shared interest join forces to push for change. Sadly, this sort of positive cross-party cooperation doesn’t often make the headlines.

On the whole, MPs tend to agree on the destination we want to arrive at. We all want to make sure our NHS is at its best, that we’re giving our kids the best start in life and an excellent education so they can fulfil their potential, that people can achieve the dream of home ownership, that our high streets thrive, our environment is protected, and that we have the right transport and digital infrastructure in place.

What is true is that we don’t always agree on the path to get there. That is no bad thing either, we need a battle of ideas, and no side has a monopoly on good ones.

This is what the More United MP Network hopes to achieve; bringing people together in a space that allows consensual politics to flourish so we can find solutions. Seeking out differences and grievances just for the sake of it doesn’t help anyone.

Outside the Westminster circus, real life and real issues are affecting my constituents. Too many feel the deck is stacked against them. It is that pervasive sense of unfairness that threatens social cohesion, and has seen people lurching to populists on the left and right in search of scapegoats and easy answers.

It’s the job of serious MPs to tell it straight – that there is no silver bullet or magical solution to all the issues facing us as a nation. That whilst of course at times our political differences will be too big to bridge, where we can work together to make your lives better, we should.

And when it comes to those of us in the More United Network, we will.”


Wright v. Swire round 2 (knock-out by Wright, contest over)

“Claire Wright has responded to claims she and other ‘remainers’ were seeking to ‘play political games’ in the Brexit debate.

In his column, East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire claimed those who supported staying in the European Union changed from campaigning for a ‘people’s vote’ to now calling for Article 50 to be revoked.

In response, Miss Wright says she is still in support of a second EU referendum and Sir Hugo should focus on local issues rather than ‘picking a fight’ with her.

She said: “Sir Hugo Swire has misrepresented my position on Brexit in his column of last week.

“My position has not changed. I still support a second referendum on the basis that now that we are far more aware of the true impact of Brexit, the people should be given the opportunity to have a say – that is democracy.

“It also appears to be the only way to address the total impasse in Parliament in what must be one of the most shambolic periods of government in British political history.

“I supported revoking Article 50 only when it appeared that a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit was the likely outcome.

“I have explained this twice to Sir Hugo via Twitter following his questions, but he seems not to understand.

“Among many other things, a ‘no deal’ Brexit, still supported by Sir Hugo, would bring an immediate end to all our trade agreements, lead to food and medicine shortages and a sharp rise in prices.

“It is a very great shame that the Conservative government’s obsession with leaving the EU has eclipsed every other issue.

“What Sir Hugo should actually be concerned with, is how and why a local school – Exmouth Community College – has been forced to ask parents for money to help them manage, as his government continues to starve our schools of resources.

“He should be worried about why it is now regularly taking four hours for ambulances to reach elderly people who have fallen and broken their hips, why hospital waiting times for operations continue to grow, why hospital beds are still being cut and why East Devon’s hospital buildings are still at risk from being sold off.

“And Sir Hugo should be asking why his government is not only failing its climate change targets but has scrapped green housing-building initiatives, incentives to buy less polluting cars, why it is investing in roads rather than rail (apart from the massively damaging HS2) and why it has introduced the horribly environmentally destructive practice of fracking.

“While Sir Hugo obsesses over Brexit, which new Tory party leader to align himself with and picks fights with me, Rome burns.

“And with it, so do our precious public services and planet.”


Former Remainer MP disses Remainer opponent – accuses her of ‘political games’

So, who is playing political games here – Swire who switched from Remain to Brexit or Claire Wright who has been a ‘strong and stable’ Remainer!


(And Owl does hope she will get a right of reply during this local election period)

We pay mortgages on MPs second homes – they take the profit

Wonder how much Swire’s second home is worth now – but is it the one in mid-Devon or the one in London? Is Neil Parish’s second home his London pad or his Somerset farm?

“Boris Johnson’s Oxfordshire ­farmhouse has soared in value to £1.2million – but the taxpayers who helped him buy it won’t see a penny.

Boris’s nest egg is one of 170 “second homes” owned by current and former MPs that have shot up by £100million.

Many were bought in flashy Central London postcodes before the 2000s boom – some have quadrupled in value.

The average growth is £570,000 for each of the 170 MPs, before costs and tax, if the properties were sold today.

Boris bought his country pile in 2003 after he was elected MP for Henley.

He paid £640,000 for it and has since seen its value rise by £560,000, or 88%.

Boris designated it his second home, meaning between 2004 and 2008 he claimed £77,957 in mortgage interest. He continued to own it throughout his two-year stint living at taxpayers’ expense while Foreign Secretary.

Of the MPs’ properties the Mirror has uncovered, the top five increases in value were all owned by Tories. …”